Please note: This was originally published on LinkedIn May 21, 2015.
A recent study published by the Content Marketing Institute on B2B Technology Content Marketing had some great insights on the state of the industry along with some potentially alarming statistics on effectiveness. Fortunately, there are some definite opportunities to learn and improve. So before you spend another dime on content marketing, you might want to take a look at some of the standout benchmarks and trends. It looks like a pretty good group of 1,820 B2B tech marketers in North America.
To start, what is content marketing? We need to have a common definition so we can look at the report in the proper context. An updated description from the Content Marketing Institute defines it it as:
If you are a technology marketer that uses content marketing as defined above, you have plenty of company. 93% of the respondents use content marketing as a driver of business.
Here are some of the insights gleaned from the report:
Only 34% say their content marketing is effective
Sorry I had to "be that guy" but here is your Oh No! up front. 93% of B2B Tech Marketers use content marketing but only 34% rate what they are doing as effective. That sounds horrible. The good news? The report provided some definite learning moments to improve. Let's back up a bit and start high level to gain some insights.
What are your main goals around content marketing?
91% say lead generation is their #1 Goal
So what are marketers trying to accomplish? 91% say their goal with content marketing is to generate leads. 81% say it is for engagement followed closely by an almost 4-way tie with lead nurturing, sales and brand awareness. The biggest % increase this year was for increasing Sales with 80% compared to 49% last year. I would expect it would increase again next year especially with the spending metric cited further in this post.
So, let's talk about your strategy...
Only 33% have a content marketing strategy that is documented.
Say what? I guess this kind of surprised me. It seems like this is an area that could be improved quickly. While 50% of the group have a content marketing strategy, only 33% have it written down (we all know it?). One of the insights of the report is that technology marketers that "write it down" are less challenged than marketers that only have their strategy as verbal-only.
Ok, so how are you going to get there?
74% are producing more content (over last 12 months)
74% of technology marketers said they were producing more content. This compares to 70% on the B2C technology marketing side. So marketers are producing more content...
Which tactics are you using?
96% are creating content for Social Media, followed by Blogs, Case Studies, eNewsletters
Social has everyone's attention with 98% using LinkedIn and Twitter at 95% to distribute content. 64% say LinkedIn is effective at distributing content for them and 58% say Twitter is working for them. Marketers are producing content for a lot of places...
And how often are you going to do that?
43% will publish daily or multiple times a day
Interesting note, the "most effective marketers" as well as those who have a documented content marketing strategy are the most likely to publish new content daily or multiple times a week. Marketers are producing content often...
And how do you measure success?
66% say website traffic #1
Website traffic #1? Uh oh, is this a Biff Tannen moment? Website traffic is easy for most to measure but are we measuring the right thing? Some might argue you might need a horse to pull a cart but if you don't have a cart, what is the horse going to pull? Related to this is that only 24% say they are currently successful at measuring ROI. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Sales lead quality did come in at 2nd with 62% and higher conversion rates at 61%. Biggest loser this year was SEO ranking declining from 54% to 39% this year. Only 19% cited customer renewal rates.
So who's going to pay for this?
56% will increase their content marketing budget
27% will remain the same but 56% are increasing their spending. 8% are significantly increasing their spending. The average % of total marketing budget (not including staff) dedicated to content marketing is 25%. Interestingly, those that were rated "most effective" in this report had 36% of total spend dedicated to content marketing. I wonder what the total % would be if it included staff? Marketers are going to spend more...
What are marketers currently working on?
- Creating more engaging/higher-quality content 73%
- Doing better at converting website visitors 71%
- Better understanding of audience 69%
- Finding more/better ways to repurpose content 66%
What are B2B Tech Marketers' biggest challenges?
- Producing Engaging Content
- Producing Content Consistently
- Measuring Content Effectiveness
- Producing a Variety of Content
- Lack of Budget
To recap, B2B Technology Marketers are spending more money to create more content for more places more often with more measurement (say that 10x fast). The metrics seem to be more aligning around sales performance (sales quality leads?). Marketers are challenged with creating engaging content consistently for a variety of properties that can be measured against mostly sales goals. Sounds like lots of opportunity to improve. Do you agree?
So before you spend another dime on content marketing, you might want to download the report to see how you compare with the industry. It is free and available at the source for this post: B2B Technology Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America
Are you going to the Content Marketing World 2015? It's September 8-11, 2015 – Cleveland, OH USA. Looks like a great event!